Sylvan Esso to deliver a pre-election drive-in concert at the Alliant on October 24

The electronic pop duo encourages attendees to get out and vote.

Photo by Shervin Lainez.

After the longest large-scale concert drought in Madison’s modern history, Sylvan Esso is set to provide an unexpected reprieve, during what would usually be the busy height of our city’s fall concert season. The duo, who have strong Wisconsin ties that are well-documented and a new album to promote, will be joining forces with the Wisconsin Democratic Party and performing a get-out-the-vote concert this Saturday, October 24 at the Alliant Energy Center. While Sylvan Esso is touted as the main draw, the event does promise to feature a series of “Wisconsin’s leaders” as well. 


Voter turnout is crucial in this election, as Wisconsin remains in play as a swing state, even with recent polls suggesting a small but consistent edge for Joe Biden. Early voting has started in Madison and is open through November 1. If you haven’t voted yet, need to check your registration, or need to make a plan to vote on November 3, head to myvote.wi.gov. The Sylvan Esso show, notable for the mere fact of being an actual live concert in 2020 in Wisconsin that’s not begging to become a super-spreader event, does have a lengthy list of restrictions and protocols for safety. However, even with those restrictions in place, any mass gathering at this point will still contain an element of risk, as Wisconsin’s positive COVID case rates continue a troubling climb

Whether or not the duo’s elliptical electronic pop (and don’t forget those leaders, who will presumably say some things about the power of democracy) is worth the risk will be up to the prospective attendees. For those who choose to go, they’ll be rewarded with firsthand experience of a fascinating chapter in Madison’s history. For those who don’t, they’ll likely get to settle in with some degree of peace-of-mind. 

While getting out and voting is a crucial action, especially in the face of targeted voter suppression from national and state-level Republican Party leaders, no one should be faulted for choosing to play it safe. Everyone else should enjoy the near-tragicomic act of dancing to a live rendition of “Die Young” in their cars. 

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